How the cross carries us down the chain of Salvation

The Cross and the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:31-34)

In our original post on the Golden Chain of Salvation we looked at Romans 8:30 as our key verse. There we examined each stage in the process (predestination, calling, justification, and glorification) and concluded that, by God’s power, the links of the chain cannot be broken. If one part of the chain applies to somebody, we know the rest will too.

Now we will continue on in Romans 8 where Paul elaborates upon and solidifies what he has already said about the golden chain. Bringing up Christ’s death and resurrection Paul shows how our security is rooted in God’s justice (vv. 31-34), and in His love (vv. 35-39). Christians are hammered with opposition and trials in this life, but because Jesus died for us we can rest assured that nothing can “unlink” us from the chain of salvation.

“What shall we say to these things?” (Romans 8:31)

The things he refers to are the doctrines taught in Chapters 5-8 of Romans. We can know this because he is returning to similar themes taught in Chapter 5. The conclusion of the matter is that “God is for us.” If we were to summarize those preceding chapters in one sentenceeverything said about justification, union with Christ, freedom from Law, would be: “God is for me, the believer.”

Paul had just shown that God is for us by causing all things to work for our good (v. 28), making us like Christ (v. 29), and ultimately bringing us to glory (v. 30). This happens because He finishes what He starts. He gives us faith and bringing us into a relationship with Him (calling), gives us righteousness (justification), and gives us a crown and a home (glorification).

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Because God is for us, Paul says that “nobody can be against us.” Does this mean that Christians will never see opposition? No, for Paul lists an array of enemies in verses 35-39! Rather, this verse is saying that none of these can succeed in their attempt to remove God’s love. To summarize: “If God, then nobody!” This means that God’s sovereignty love working itself out in favor towards us is more powerful than anything which may contradict Him. God’s love, faithfulness, and delight in us is infinitely more powerful than all the hate of all our enemies combined.

“He delivered Christ for us.” (Romans 8:32)

The body of people for whom Christ died is called us. The us here is the same as verse 31. Paul is referring to those whom He is for, which are those whom He predestined (vv. 29-30), and so forth. This us continues throughout the passage and is undoubtedly limited to Christians. In fact, note that the most clear definition of this group is “God’s elect” in verse 33. There cannot be anybody Jesus “died for” who is not also in the chain we have already studied in verse 30.

The next statement drives the nail further into the coffin; “He will also give us all things.” The flow is: Those who were given Christ will also be given all good things by God. What is Paul’s logic here? It is a greater-to-lesser argument: Jesus, God’s one and only Son (John 3:16), who He loves (5:20), and who is in the bosom of the Father (1:18), is the most valuable thing in the universe to God! If He freely gave us His most prized possession, we should not think that God would withhold from us treasures of lesser value. It can be likened to Abraham’s test in Genesis 22. Abraham had to offer his one and only son, whom he loved (obviously a foreshadow of the cross). When God saw that Abraham was willing to do that, He knew that he trusted in Him.

So here we see that God’s purpose is all in one bundle. You cannot say, “I am died for, but God is not for me!” or, “I am died for, but receive no other blessings!” But rather, the same group for whom Christ’s blood was shed on the cross is also that group which receives all things.

“He will also give us all things”

What are the “all things” that we are given? They are those blessings which continue us down the chain! In context, being that the objects are already Christians, it is most likely referring to that which is necessary for perseverance. Although that is not all that is given to the elect. Faith was purchased for the elect at the cross, and is freely given (Acts 16:14; Eph 2:8-9; Phil 1:29). Paul says that we have all spiritual blessings through Christ (Eph. 1:3), and Peter says that God has given us all things for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33)

Just as we saw before in verse 31, the thought is “If God, then nobody.” The answer to Paul’s questions is again drawn from God’s character. Why is it that nobody is able to bring a successful accusation against the elect? Because He is the judge! Are His eyes so blind that He cannot see if these accusations are so? Is He so foolish as to not know the demands of the Law?

Paul here is alluding to Isaiah 50:8-9 which says,

“He who vindicates Me is near;
Who will contend with Me?
Let us stand up to each other;
Who has a case against Me?
Let him draw near to Me.
Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me;
Who is he who condemns Me?”

What a comfort this is! God declares me righteous on the basis of the active obedience of Christ, and nothing can reverse His just verdict. Not a single one of my sins, already satisfied for and removed through Christ, can be brought up against me in God’s heavenly court! Nothing can bring us out of the justified state, and therefore off the path to glory.

“Jesus intercedes for us” (Romans 8:34)

Christ’s work again comes into focus. Paul says that all those who are died for are also interceded for. In fact, the wording is so clear that the two are the exact same group! It does not merely say, “He died for us, and He intercedes for us…” which would still be a clear statement, but Paul words it, “He died and intercedes for us.” There is not a single human being in the one group who is not in the other!

So what is the content of this intercession? It is the prayer that helps us persevere through our weakness in verse 26, and the prayer according to God’s will in verse 27. It is also the prayer that keeps away all the condemning forces in v. 33, and the enemies in vv. 38-39.

Paul connects this intercession back to the “condemnation of world vs. justification of God” from the previous verse. Because Christ died for us and is interceding for us, we are not condemned. (See our study on Romans 4:25, that the resurrection is proof of our justification.) Jesus shed His blood and is now presenting it before the Father that we may reap the benefits He purchased.

Conclusion: God’s love and justice continue us on the chain

So here again we have seen The Golden Chain in God’s purpose of redemption. The points we gleaned from this passage may be summarized as follows:

  • All whom God is for, He sends Christ to die in their place (vv. 31-32)
  • All those who are given Christ are also given all other blessings (v. 32)
  • All those whom God is for, He justifies (v. 33)
  • All those for whom Christ dies, Christ also lives forever to intercede for their perseverance (v. 34).

Because of God’s great power, nobody can be against us (v. 31); because of His position as judge, nobody can bring a charge against us that we would lose our salvation or God’s favor (vv. 33-34); because of the value of Christ’s blood, nobody can condemn us (v. 34); because of God’s love, nobody can separate us from Him (v. 35). In our next post we will continue our look at the Golden Chain of Salvation as Paul discusses it in vv. 35-39. Here we saw how our participation in the golden chain of salvation is accomplished and preserved by virtue of Christ’s work and God’s justice. In the next few verses Paul discusses how the chain continues because of God’s love.

-Steve Rohn

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